Photographer Solomon Uhiara translates experiences of sleep paralysis into debut NFT collection

The world has seen a surge in the adoption of digital artworks via the not-so-new NFT medium, and we’ve been following the trend and frenzy of this new technology. In light of this recent development, we launched the NFT Radar, a new series featuring artists putting out amazing works in the NFT space. From new but noteworthy NFT listings to sold-out listings, we dive deep with the artists behind these works into the world of digital art, discussing their work process, the significance of their art, and the secrets they knew or wish to know.

This time around, we sit with Solomon Uhiara, a photographer, sci-fi writer, and poet from Nigeria. Solomon’s first collection reflects his love for sci-fi and his personal experience with sleep paralysis and nightmares. We sat with him to discuss his current work and his future outlooks in the NFT space.

Isolated Sleep Paralysis and Dreaming Machines: Gemini Woman Dreams
ESLAH AYENAJEI: How would you Explain NFT to an old man on a bus?

SOLOMON UHIARA: I would say to him, Imagine you have a token e.g a digitalized memorable photograph of an experience that has been so special to you, or that has a strong story attached to it or a piece of art and you want to exchange it for money. I will tell him that there is a technology for that which is called the Blockchain. Then I’ll proceed to say that the Blockchain can be a beautiful mansion with spaces where these pieces can be displayed. And to display them, you have to put them up there and they are automatically attached to a specific rare number that can not be replaced. Now the numbers represent the piece attached to it and a collector or a buyer can walk in and upon glancing and resonating with whatever piece is displayed, the collector can easily make a purchase of that piece with currencies like Ethereum or polygon or Solana, etc. Now the number attached to the art is what makes it different from any other piece in that mansion. There is an instant automatic transfer of the digital piece from the owner to the buyer. 

What is unique about your art and what makes it stand out from all other works flooding the open NFT marketplace?

Well, I create conceptual photography and I will love to point out my deep-rooted love for machines, science, and technology. I am always compelled to make technological adaptations. And the use of my signature tool, ‘the black wires’ is something that has been present in my collections. I personally believe in connections, between humans and machines, between humans and imaginations, and between humans and God. Hence, the invisible silver linens. 

Another unique quality I can ascribe to my NFT pieces is that I personally construct all the tools and prototypes with my hands, spending hours to days, sometimes, the creation process lingers into weeks and months depending on the project. I dream about the ideas before I conceptualize them into reality. Other times I spend days tweaking my brain to align with my thoughts and visions until I hit a punchline.

I’ll say it’s the originality of the concepts and the ideas and the stories they tell. Whatever I create or write, I always want it to come from my soul, from my mind, from my heart. I really love originality. The mind is a wonderland of untapped ideas. Anything is possible once the mind is dedicated to pondering. 

What story does your first NFT collection on Opensea tell?

Mental health. My Genesis collection is inspired by my personal experiences of sleep paralysis. I believed the experience was not peculiar to me alone. I understood sleep paralysis to an extent, having gone through it countless times, I just had to tell my story through conceptual photography and let people out there hear it and be inspired, and probably learn. I mean, what are experiences if they don’t teach us something? The collection details nightmarish experiences. It is titled ‘Isolated Sleep Paralysis and Dreaming Machines’ and it still has two pieces available on Opensea.

What is your future outlook in the NFT space?

I’m currently finalizing work on my second collection. Another conceptual body of work that uses technological tools and equipment to tell the story. 

The forthcoming collection is titled ‘The Story of the Engine Man’ and it will be available on Foundation. It’s another body of work I’m really proud of and I can’t wait for the world to see it! 

I have a number of works within the NFT space with which I’m involved. I could list a few here:

  • Sci-fi Writer for @spiritsofafrica comic series, the biggest NFT project out of Africa. It tells the stories of African gods and goddesses. 
  • I’ll be a contributing writer for $ReFi project under the watch of @MLBinwa, who is one of the biggest NFT supporters and collectors in the NFT space. 
  • I have also contributed poetry to a phobia series recently launched by @Chinonye_NA
How did go about your first NFT sale?

To answer this question, I’ll like to state that behind any success is a ton of hard work buried underneath. Having stated that, I can go ahead and answer this. 

The first piece I sold was a piece titled ‘How to focus on a Dream‘. It is a beautiful piece which features a talented African woman wearing a headgear which shows that she is focused as she navigates her dreams. It was modelled by the talented painter and artist Aye Umasoye. A description of the piece is stated thus: “To focus on a dream, there’s always a force of passion. Hold on to a clear idea and water it every night with prayers, silence and meditation inputted into dream devices that transcend illusions, because illusions are dangerous unless optically made. 

I sold my first NFTs by organically building a community and creating real friendships and connections. There’s really no one way to do this thing. Just go with the flow and let the river lead you on. But don’t drown! Never drown…lol.

Isolated Sleep Paralysis and Dreaming Machines; How to focus on a dream
Tell us about your photography journey. How did it start?

I’ve been taking pictures from way back in the university when I participated in a compulsory entrepreneurship course. I chose photography and since then, it stuck and never left me since. I’m glad I got to do something way more with it. Now I tell stories with photography, now I create characters, and now I build worlds. Anything can be done once you think of it and put in the work. 

What is your typical day like?

My typical day is mostly filled with self-love and a multitude of thoughts about space and the future and how to impact the world positively with my talent. Either with my writing or with photography. I listen to music all day, I may go and kill some time at the cinema or just spend hours living inside my head while thinking about love, ideas and happiness. I think the world is a beautiful place. I’m just happy I can do something different in it while breathing, growing, loving, and being hopeful for a future greater than today and tomorrow!

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